Category Archives: News
By Adiah Gholston
Activists and organizations have transition their activism from protesting in the streets to educating and advocating on online platforms.
The Virginia Tech student organization United Feminist Movement uses tools such as Instagram infographics to educate and inform people about women’s rights related issues at Virginia Tech. Infographics share a similar design structure to powerpoint or slide shows and aim to give a quick overview on issues.
“People are a lot more into social justice now and resharing all of these stories, so kind of working with that, and keeping that in mind so when I’m making the post and thinking, ‘ okay, which one of these slides in the instagram posts are people going to want to share,’” said Carolina Bell, Treasurer and communication Chair of UFM.
The Academic world has also transitioned their activism to an online format. Various departments leaders within Virginia Tech’s College of liberal Arts and sciences have stepped up to host teach- in’s, informal discussions or series of lectures on a subject of public interest.
“ I see it as an extension of teaching, said Matthew Gabriele, Chair for the department of Religion and culture. “These types of teach-ins, a type of online activism are just extensions of what we do as scholars and academics.”
Even though the Department of Religion and Culture has hosted Tech-ins in previous years, hosting Teach-ins through zoom gave them the opportunity to was able to expand their audience.
“We had 250 people attend the teach in, that was of course faculty, student, staff at Virginia Tech, but then we had people from all over the world who somehow heard about it maybe on social media. I don’t really know,” said Gabriele.
Online tools like Instagram infographics and the increasing use of zoom has allowed academic leaders and students to reach broader audiences and present more opportunities to spread their message of justice.
Mandatory masks, social distancing, and limited gatherings are the standard nowadays due to the coronavirus pandemic. For freshmen at Virginia Tech hoping to get the full college experience, these restrictions have made things more challenging.
Freshman Colin Roberts: “I’m still trying to get more involved, I’m still trying to join some more clubs, so i’ll see if I can do
With nearly all club meetings taking place online due to the restriction on
major gatherings, students have found it harder to join social clubs over zoom but have found ways to socialize outside of these clubs.
Freshman Minahil Malik: “Gobblerfest online wasn’t hard to manage and getting emails through engineering stuff for clubs makes it pretty easy as well.”
As for the social scene that many come to college to experience, on campus
activities and good weather have helped some freshmen make connections even with these guidelines in place.
Freshman Colin Roberts: “Walking around campus, going to the drillfield at night, skating around, you have people come up to you and say hi, you can go up to people and say hi, spark a small conversation and get snapchats or something. I wouldn’t say it’s too difficult for me personally, but I can definitely understand it’s more difficult for other people who don’t step out as much.”
As for others, however, the social scene hasn’t been what they expected when starting their freshman year at virginia tech.
Freshman Minahil Malik: “I think because of covid, it took away a lot of things I was looking forward to for freshman year. Just meeting a lot more people in general and hanging out with people and stuff like that, that’s
what I expected but obviously coronavirus.”
New regulations have been implemented by Title IX at Virginia Tech. Due to the changes in the board of education, Title IX has adjusted the way that they handle cases of sexual assault that occur off campus and add restriction to what cases they can or can not respond to.
“What the department of education did is they gave us a new definition of what sexual harassment means under Title IX and they also gave us a new geographic jurisdiction of what cases will fall under Title IX,” said Polidoro.
In order to receive federal funding so that students can receive financial aid, Title IX are required by law to follow these rules.
“There are things that as a University we need to be in compliance with,” said Polidoro.
These new regulations will make the way in which Title IX responds to off campus sexual harassment and assault more limiting than Title IX’s previous regulations. In past semesters, Virginia Tech students have protested the ways in which Title IX has been handling cases of sexual assault.
These students have been sharing their stories about how Title IX treated them.
“I do not think they’re doing anything that they should be doing. All the people I talk to – there’s so much prevalence that Title IX doesn’t really care. They just want to get it done as quickly as they can even though they took up so much of my time,” said Bailey.
Students feel as though these new regulations were a big step backwards from what they were hoping to see change.